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Lions Roar : November 2011
SHAMBHALA SUN NOVEMBER 2011 83 BY ANDREA MILLER Books in Brief AWAKE IN THE WORLD Teachings From Yoga and Buddhism for Living an Engaged Life By Michael Stone Shambhala Publications 2011; 208 pp., $17.95 (paper) According to Michael Stone, the essence of yoga and Buddhist practice is opening the heart—our own and the heart of the world—and in his new book he explores this idea through a range of lenses, including money and livelihood, ecology, nature, activism, and even suicide. “We know we are all con- nected, but we forget,” says Stone. “We know mind and body are one, but we wake every morning with amnesia. This is why we practice. We use this practice as a tool to effect change inter- nally and externally in this very imbalanced world.” A psycho- therapist and the founder of the Centre of Gravity Sangha in Toronto, Stone teaches yoga and Buddhist meditation around the globe. ACROSS MANY MOUNTAINS A Tibetan Family’s Epic Journey From Oppression to Freedom By Yangzom Brauen St. Martin’s Press 2011; 304 pp., $26.99 (cloth) Through the story of one family, Across Many Mountains unpacks the Tibetan experience. Kunsang Wangmo, born almost a century ago, was a Buddhist nun who married a monk. After the Chinese invaded Tibet, Kunsang, her husband, and their two little girls made the dangerous trek through snow and darkness to freedom. But India offered its own set of challenges: hard labor breaking rocks, unsanitary conditions, and a lack of health care. The father and the younger daughter succumbed to illness; however, the mother and older daughter, Sonam Dölma, survived. When Sonam was sixteen, she landed a job at an upscale Tibetan restaurant in Mussoorie, India, and met Martin Brauen, a young man from Switzerland. They fell in love, got married, and moved to Zurich with Kunsang. Now the three of them live in New York, where Martin is the chief curator for the Rubin Museum of Art. Yangzom Brauen, Martin and Sonam’s daughter, lives in both Los Angeles and Berlin. Born in 1980, she is the author of Across Many Moun- tains, as well as an actor, model, and activist for the Free Tibet movement. NEVER THE HOPE ITSELF Love and Ghosts in Latin America and Haiti By Gerry Hadden Harper Perennial 2011; 352 pp., $14.99 (paper) Gerry Hadden, a student of the Tibetan teacher Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche, was about to begin a three-year medita- tion retreat when he landed his dream job—NPR’s correspon- dent for Mexico, Latin America, and Haiti. Never the Hope Itself is the true, spine-chilling story of Hadden working his beat, covering contraband and deadly border crossings and bloody rebellion. It is also the story of Hadden making a life for himself in Mexico City. He has his Buddhist practice and at the same time he has a complicated, passionate romance with Anne, a married woman. Most curiously, he claims to have ghosts in his Mexican home, bursting open closet doors and levitating objects. You may or may not believe in his phan- toms, but Hadden provides an eerie read. SAVED BY BEAUTY Adventures of an American Romantic in Iran By Roger Housden Broadway 2011; 304 pp., $24 (cloth) “I came to write a book to show people in the West that Iran is not what they think,” Roger Housden told his Iranian interrogators. “I came to find the soul of Iran, the truth and beauty of its past and present.” The interrogators looked dubious. “Do you know what an Iranian jail is like?” one of them asked. Saved by Beauty is Housden’s nonfiction account of his travels. It is not a portrait of the romanticized Persia— lush with pomegranates and roses—that Housden had been hoping for, nor is it a portrait of the colorless, repressed Iran that so many Westerners fear. Instead, Saved by Beauty offers readers a more complex view, encompassing stereotypes and